Some 25 mln Kenyan citizens in need of treatment for neglected tropical diseases: official

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NAIROBI, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) -- An estimated 25 million Kenyans are in need of treatment for one or more neglected tropical diseases, the country's Ministry of Health said on Thursday.

Rashid Aman, chief administrative secretary of Ministry of Health, told a forum in Nairobi that these diseases are endemic across the country, and primarily affect the rural poor communities where access to sanitation and clean water is low .

"It is possible for Kenya to achieve elimination of neglected tropical diseases in the next 10 years and enable millions of Kenya to live prosperous lives free of these disabling and stigmatized diseases," Aman said during the Kenya Healthcare Federation conference.

He said Kenya has been certified free of one neglected tropical disease, the guinea worm.

The official observed that Kenya has also achieved interruption of transmission for African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) and onchocerciasis (river blindness) given that there has been no reported clinical cases of the two diseases in the last 20 years.

He revealed that currently over 90 percent of the funding for neglected tropical diseases is external, which makes local long-term planning for control and elimination unsustainable.

Aman urged the national and county governments to do more than they are doing currently to ensure that there are adequate domestic budgetary allocations for neglected tropical diseases. Enditem

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